But there are always valuable nuggets of information that can be discovered. So let's check out five quick takeaways from the 24-6 loss:
Brandon Pettigrew Looked Like Brandon Pettigrew
There has been a lot of chatter regarding Pettigrew's focus on becoming a consistent player. Unfortunately, that hasn't translated to the field. He brought in three passes for 20 yards and blocked well, but it's impossible to forget his drop. The ball hit him squarely in the hands before falling to the turf. This is a contract year for Pettigrew, and he's going to lose a lot of money if he doesn't start holding on to the easy ones.
Everybody Was Right About Nick Fairley
The summer has been littered with reports that Nick Fairley was finally putting it all together. He worked hard all offseason and looked primed to dominate.
The hype was warranted.
Fairley was a beast on Thursday night. He was bull-rushing a Browns offensive lineman into quarterback Brandon Weeden one play and making a tackle 10 yards downfield the next. That level of effort was something that had been missing from the promising-yet-immature defensive tackle's resume. As with everything here, it is the preseason, but the seedling of an All-Pro season is starting to sprout.
The Secondary Isn't There Yet
Yes, that was second-year signal-caller Brandon Weeden shredding the Lions' secondary. Granted, he did well against the St. Louis Rams last week and made some tough throws against the Lions, but a second-grader could have exploited the holes in the secondary.
And it wasn't just whipping-boy safety Don Carey this time. No. 1 cornerback Chris Houston was beat down the sideline in the first quarter, and tight end Jordan Cameron beat safety Glover Quin for a touchdown. Carey could have done better job helping out, but Quin didn't give him much to work with as Cameron sprinted through the seam untouched for the score.
Even more troublesome was Cameron's second score when he was alone in the back of the end zone. That blown coverage is a scary reminder of how bad this secondary can be, and it's doubtful all of these problems will disappear just because Louis Delmas returns.
Ezekiel Ansah Continues to Shine
Ansah didn't have a highlight play like the one that kicked off his NFL career (the pick-six of New York Jets turnover-machine Mark Sanchez). He didn't need to.
Ansah needed to demonstrate that he's beginning to understand the defense and his role in it. Not only did he keep top-flight offensive tackle Joe Thomas on his heels because of his outside speed, but he also battled with him. Ansah shook his block at least twice and stuffed run plays. If he continues to develop his pass-rushing skills while making the supposedly routine plays, the Lions will cash in on his amazing potential sooner rather than later.
Calvin Johnson Should Be the NFL's Most Valuable Player
No, I'm not kidding. Calvin Johnson should be the first player to be named the MVP preemptively.
Johnson sat out Thursday night's game with a knee contusion. Obviously, anything that is bothering Megatron is a reason to keep him out of a preseason game. But his absence made it painfully obvious that he is worth his huge contract.
The offense sputtered as the receivers and tight ends struggled to find any space. It seemed like every throw Matthew Stafford attempted was against tight coverage. Their inability to create any separation proved that none of them have the explosion necessary to succeed without the best receiver in the NFL drawing ridiculous amounts of coverage.
That's why it's imperative that Johnson and Ryan Broyles stay healthy, since they represent the only two receiving options (excluding Reggie Bush) that can get open on their own.
Brandon Alisoglu is a Michigan native and has been covering the Detroit Lions for two years. He has been published at Yahoo!, Bleacher Report, CNN and other websites. He also co-hosts a podcast called Lions Central Radio with Nick Kostora that can be found on ITunes and Stitcher.
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- Brandon Pettigrew
- Brandon Weeden
- Cleveland Browns
- Nick Fairley